Title with two fine woodcut vignettes, final leaf with a fine & large woodcut on verso, and numerous woodcut diagrams & printed tables in the text. Many fine woodcut initials. 8 p.l., clii numbered leaves. Folio, cont. richly blindstamped pigskin over bevelled wooden boards (two corners a little worn, first five leaves with unimportant marginal wormhole, second leaf with three small pale ink splatters), orig. clasps & catches. Nuremberg: J. Montanus & U. Neuber, 1545.
APIAN, Peter & JABIR IBN AFLAH. Instrumentum Primi Mobilis, à Petro Apiano nunc primum et inventum et in lucem editum…Accedunt ijs Gebri filii Affla Hispalensis…Libri IX. de Astronomia, ante aliquot secula Arabice scripti & per Giriardum Cremonensem Latinitate donati. Title in red & black with large woodcut of two astronomers holding scientific instruments after Dürer, a full-page woodcut coat-of-arms on recto of a2, & numerous woodcut illus. & diagrams in the text. 40 p.l., 146 pp., one blank leaf. Folio. Nuremberg: J. Petri, 1534.
—. Horoscopion Apiani generale dignoscendis horis cuiuscumque generis aptissimum, neque id ex Sole tantum interdiu, sed & noctu ex Luna, aliisque Planetis & Stellis quibusdam fixis, quo per universum Rhomanum imperium atque adeo ubivis gentium uti queas, adiuncta ratione, qua utaris, expeditissima, nunc ab illo primum & inventum & aeditum…Nocturna quoque adnexa est observatio horaria ex digitis manuum… Title in red & black with a large woodcut depicting the fine “Horoscopion” instrument & numerous woodcuts in the text. 20 unnumbered leaves. Folio. Ingolstadt: [Printed at the author’s private press], 1533.
—. Instrument Buch, durch Petrum Apianum erst von new beschriben. Zum Ersten ist darinne begriffen ein newer Quadrant, dardurch Tag und Nacht, bey der Sonnen, Mon, unnd andern Planeten, auch durch ettliche Gestirn, die Stunden, und ander nutzung, gefunden werden. Zum Andern, wie man die höch der Thürn, und anderer gebew…durch die Spigel und Instrument, messen soll. Zum Dritten, wie man das wasser absehen oder abwegen soll …und wie man die Brünne suchen soll. Zum Vierden, sindt drey Instrument, die mögen in der gantzen welt bey Tag und bey Nacht gebraucht werden…Zum Fünfften, wie man künstlich durch die Finger der Hände die Stund in der Nacht, on alle Instrument erkhennen soll. Zum Letzten, ist darin ein newer Messstab, des gleichen man nendt den Jacobs stab, dardurch auch die höch, brayt, weyt, vnd tieffe, auff newe art gefunden wirt. Title printed in red & black with large woodcut depicting four astronomers at work with two cubes & a tower, full-page woodcut coat-of-arms of the dedicatee Hans Wilhelm von Laubenberg on verso, & numerous woodcuts in the text (several of the full-page woodcuts are slightly cropped at outer margins), without the nine supplementary plates which are usually missing. Ingolstadt: [Printed at the author’s private press], 1533.
MUENSTER, Sebastian. Fürmalung und künstlich Beschreibung der Horologien, nemlich wie man der sonnen uren mit mancherley weys und form, und auff allerley gattung entwerffen soll an die mauren, auff die nider unnd auffgehebte ebne, auff rotund, schlecht, aussgraben und andere mancherley instrument… Woodcut diagram on title of a sundial & numerous woodcuts in the text. 4 p.l., CLVII leaves, one blank leaf. Folio (a few leaves slightly soiled). Basel: H. Petri, .
ASTRONOMIA. Teutsch Astronomei. Von Art, eygenschafften, und wirckung. Der vii. Zeychen des Himels. Der vii. Planeten. Der xxxvi. Himelischen Bildern und iren Sternen. Von den Spheren des Himels. Bedeutung der finsternus Sonn und Mon. Gestalt und bedeutung der Cometen…in eyn kurtze summ gestelt, yetzt new in truck verfertiget. Item C. Ptolomei. Von Uffgang und Nidergang bedeuttung und wirckung in verenderung des luffts durchs gantze Jar alle tag der Himelischer bilder und irer sternen verteutscht. Woodcut diagram on title and 95 handsome woodcuts including a world map and astrological & astronomical woodcuts in the text. Woodcut printer’s device on recto of last leaf. 76 unnumbered leaves. Folio (lower corner of leaf D5 torn away but rejoined at an early date, final few leaves with minor marginal worming). [Frankfurt: C. Jacob, 1545].
One of the finest sammelbands I have encountered; an early collector — it would be wonderful to know who he was — has assembled here six related works on astronomy, horology, scientific instruments, and astrology, all richly illustrated. They reflect the state of scientific knowledge in the period just as the revolutionary ideas of Copernicus were being disseminated.
I. First edition of a rare and noteworthy book; it is one of the very first books to comment favorably on the new discoveries of Copernicus. Professor of mathematics at the newly founded University of Nuremberg, Schöner (1477-1547), was one of the greatest geographers and mathematicians of the first half of the 16th century. It was Schöner who had urged Copernicus to publish his milestone De Revolutionibus (1543).
“Schöner in 1545 printed another work of his own of considerable length, namely, three books on the judgments of nativities, with another preface by Melanchthon. Schöner had been one of those who encouraged Copernicus to published his magnum opus. Now in the present work, although preferring the method of Ptolemy in astrological judgments to those of subsequent astrologers, Schöner maintained that the Copernican system was not unfavorable to astrology.”–Thorndike, V, p. 367.
A rebound copy of just this work sold for 54,000 dollars in the Streeter sale in 2007.
II. First editions of these two important texts: Apianus’ treatise describing an instrument designed to explain the primum mobilis of the universe and the Islah of Jabir ibn Aflah in which he provides a commentary of Ptolemy’s Almagest. His commentary is important in the introduction of spherical trigonometry in the West.
Apianus’ text, which occupies the first 80 pages, describes an instrument for explaining the primum mobile of the universe; it is his most important scientific work, containing tables “where he calculates sines for every minute, with the radius divided decimally. These are the first such tables ever printed.”–D.S.B., I, p. 179–(citing the title of the second edition of this work but giving the correct date).
The remaining portion (pp. 146) of this book contains the first printing of Gerard of Cremona’s translation into Latin of Jabir ibn Aflah’s Islah. This is a revision and commentary of Ptolemy’s Almagest, composed in Seville in the first half of the 12th century. “Jabir describes the principal differences between the Islah and the Almagest in the prologue: Menelaus’ theorem is everywhere replaced by theorems on right spherical triangles, so that a proportion of four quantities is substituted for one of six; further, Jabir does not present his theorems in the form of numerical examples, as Ptolemy did…
“Jabir criticized Ptolemy…on a number of astronomical matters. Ptolemy’s ‘errors’ are listed in the prologue of the Islah. The most substantial, and most famous, deviation from the Almagest concerns Venus and Mercury. Ptolemy placed them beneath the sun, claiming that they were never actually on the line joining the eye of the observer and the sun. Jabir contradicted this justification, putting Venus and Mercury above the sun. The Islah is the work of a theorist. The demonstrations are free of all numbers and there are no tables. Jabir does, however, describe a torquetum-like instrument, which he says replaces all the instruments of the Almagest…
“Jabir was better known in the West through Gerard of Cremona’s translation. His name was used as that of an authority who criticized Ptolemy. But more serious was his influence on Western trigonometry…His most important influence was upon Regiomontanus’ De triangulis, written in the early 1460’s and printed in 1533, which systematized trigonometry for the Latin West.”–D.S.B., VII, p. 38.
III. First edition, printed at the author’s private press. The book describes and illustrates Apian’s “horoscopion,” an instrument in the form of a quadrant for telling the time by day and night and for measuring heights, depths, and distances. Dodgson ascribes some of the fine woodcuts to Hans Brosamer and Michael Ostendorfer. “According to Van Ortroy, the first two parts translated appeared as the Instrument Buch, and the third part is derived from the Quadrans astronomica, 1532.”–Stillwell, The Awakening Interest in Science during the First Century of Printing, 811.
IV. First edition of this important work on early mathematical and astronomical instruments, interesting for the descriptions of a number of newly invented quadrants designed individually to measure both time and distances. “This is a profusely illustrated work on the use of over forty different mathematical instruments (mainly sighting devices such as the quadrant and Jacob’s staff). Written in German it is one of the earliest technical books to use a language other than Latin.”–Tomash A83.
This copy, like many other examples, does not have the nine supplementary plates (see Van Ortroy’s comments regarding their rarity). There are two issues of the title-page: one, like ours, is printed in red and black. The other issue, presumably later, is printed entirely in black.
V. First edition in German (1st ed.: Horologiographia, 1533). This uncommon book is the first to deal exclusively with sun dials and the first really comprehensive work on the subject. The very numerous woodcuts depict many kinds of sun dials and other astronomical instruments.
VI. First edition of this very rare and handsome astronomical/astrological text. According to Zinner 1869, this book was printed from a very old manuscript which Hans Orth von Bacharach supplied. Orth was not the author but, on the contrary, the writings gathered here appeared in German manuscripts of the 15th century. Zinner cites an edition of 1502 (no. 803) but, without examining a copy, we cannot be sure if it has the same text. There were later editions — 1551, 1571, 1578, and 1583 — but it seems that these all have varying texts and are quite dissimilar from our edition.
This is a fine and remarkable collection of important German scientific texts.
❧ I. Zinner 1884. II. Stillwell, The Awakening Interest in Science during the First Century of Printing, 21 (Apianus), 68 (Jabir for astronomy), & 181 (Jabir for mathematics). Tomash A84. Van Ortroy 107. Zinner 1553. III. Van Ortroy 100. Zinner 1512. IV. Stillwell, The Awakening Interest in Science during the First Century of Printing, 812. Van Ortroy 104–“Ces planches manquent dans plusieurs exemplaires que nous avons consultés.” Zinner 1514. V. Hoover 600. Zinner 1672. Zinner, Astronomische Instrumente des 11. bis 18. Jahrhunderts, p. 456. VI. Zinner 1869.
Item ID: 3457